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The price of buying a new build condo

I went downtown today to check out the presentation centre for a new condo development being built in the heart of downtown. I wish I hadn’t! Now, all I’ve been dreaming about is living in a beautiful, sophisticated new build. And while the least expensive suites start at a reasonable $266k, that’s only for 550 sq. ft. and no parking spot. To buy a suite with over 700 sq. ft and a parking spot, I was looking at $500k. And let’s not even get into the ridiculously high strata fees!!! I nearly dropped dead in front of the sales associate.

There’s luxury condo development going up right now a few blocks away from the presentation centre I was at, and their estates start at $680,000!!! It’s so stylish though, and features a 100 ft. waterfall down the front of the building, which gently flows into an outdoor pool. It’s so gorgeous, and just a block away from the inner harbour.

How can anyone afford to buy a new build? Especially when they’re marketing to young, hip people ages 25-35 who want to live the urban lifestyle … most people my age that I know are barely making ends meet paying rent in their crappy run-down apartments, never mind buying an expensive condo. But I guess there’s enough interest out there, otherwise all these expensive urban condos wouldn’t be in such high demand here.

Back to reality … Thursday I have my initial meeting with the real estate agent. I noticed two condos for sale in a very nice area on the peninsula (close to my work & 45 min. away from “hip, urban” downtown), going for the ridiculously low price of $170k. That’s a price I can afford now, because I’m sure I can scrape together 10% for a down payment. But that’s getting a bit ahead of myself. I have no idea why they are so cheap, and wonder if there’s anything wrong with either of them! They are both around 600 sq. ft, built in the early 90’s, and have nice, open concept floor plans. I know those two places will go fast, so I’d love to go take a look at them as soon as possible.

To answer a few questions…

Matt from Discursive Monologue asked a few questions in my last post about my current situation, and I thought I’d just reply with a new post, instead of burying it in among the other comments.

Question:
Do you think that your parents owe you something? You kind of sound like you expect your parents to have loaned you money for a down payment and, since that fell through, you expect them to help you out financially in a manner of living. I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but that is the impression I get. I don’t want to mislabel your expectations–it’s just conjecture.

Certainly, help from parents is very common. Most people my age are still getting support from their parents (most of my friends still have their parents paying for food, clothes, and one even had his parents make a down payment on his condo). I’m kind of jealous of people who get so much support. When I turned 18, my parents kind of said, “Good luck.”

Answer:
No, I don’t think my parents owe me anything. When I was 17 and going off to college, it was up to me to pay for everything. They wouldn’t help me pay for the creation of my recruitment video to send off to NCAA teams when I was in high school, so I don’t really expect them to help me out financially now. From a young age, I learned to depend on myself if I wanted to get things done. But at any rate, I just thought it was worth a try to ask them for monetary help, so it’s not a big deal that they can’t. I didn’t expect them to, since that’s not really how my parents are in the first place. They have always been about having me learn from my mistakes, and about financial independence.

That being said, of course I was disappointed they were not able to offer financial support to me, but I thought I could ask if they would let me extend my stay in the basement suite for another 5 months. That’s all. It doesn’t really affect them what happens, because as it stands right now they’re getting $500/month income from the BF and I being in this suite. Once my sister moves in, they won’t be getting any income from her since she’s still in school.

Question:
Why does your sister want to move into your spot? With you making so much money, isn’t she entitled to the cheap living that you’ve enjoyed all this time? You’re blessed with the ability to make so much money in such a short amount of time, don’t forget to consider her situation and don’t be afraid to make a small concession such as living on your own.

Answer:
My sister wants to live in my spot right now because it’s an entire basement suite, and it beats living in her small little room in my parents’ house. Of course she is entitled to cheap living I’ve been enjoying for the past year. I was just asking if this whole situation were possible and for her to hold off for 5 extra months to help me out. She has every right to say no, and if she does, then I guess I’m out of luck. But if the roles were reversed, and I had a chance to help her out in this situation, I’d do it. Maybe that’s not fair to say because the roles aren’t reversed.

I know that I have a good situation right now. Living practically rent free. I’m not taking it for granted. I’ve had hard times in the past with money and living arrangements and having to quit school, etc. I know how lucky I am, so please don’t think I’m some spoiled girl who thinks she’s entitled to her family bending over backwards to help her out. It’s not like that. All I was doing was asking for their help; for things to continue the way they are right now for another 5 months. That’s it. Maybe I’m being naive and selfish here, but I don’t really see anything wrong with what I’m doing. I’m just asking family for help, which isn’t something I’m known to do.

Verdict: Rent (for now. I think.)

So I had another talk with the BF about potentially buying a place together. I told him I didn’t think I was financially ready to buy. I don’t have my EF set up, and I also don’t have a down payment available since my parents pretty much told me flat out they couldn’t loan me any money. Plus, I’m not sure if I’m willing to buy property with someone at the moment. I’ve always said that the first time I buy property (condo), I’m going to do it myself. And the BF really doesn’t want to live in a condo because he wants a garage to store his motorcycle and tools and stuff. Basically what it comes down to is that we want different things in a property. I’m not willing to sacrifice location, and he’s not willing to sacrifice things like a garage and a backyard.

We still have to talk about it in a little more detail, but we agreed that I’ll to try and find us an apartment or basement suite for under $800/month out on the peninsula close to my work. It will be hard to find something in that price range, but I’m not really that pressed for time since we have until November to move out. The only thing I’m worried about is not being able to find a place in the fall once all the college kids come back for school in September and take up all the apartments.

Anyway, in exchange for the long commute (45 min each way), I agreed to pay for the BF’s bus pass which is $60/month (he bikes to work right now because we live in town), as well as for internet which is $41/month ($30 for the first 6 months) … and I think that’s reasonable because the $500/month we’ve been paying in rent for the past year or so, I’m actually only paying $150 of that amount since I was in school and trying to pay off my debts.

I personally think everything should be split 50/50, and things like bus passes and parking spots, etc … those should be paid by the person who’s going to use them. However, compromise is the name of the game. The BF does not want to live out on the peninsula because it really is quite a commute into downtown, and it’s away from all of our friends and family, and basically any sort of entertainment … but with my job being out there, I really REALLY don’t want to rent a place in town … so an extra $100/month for the convenient location is worth it in my opinion.

But then again, it’ll be really inconvenient living all the way out there and having to come into town all the time for hockey or soccer, or basically whenever we want to do anything. The BF has a truck that I pay 25% of the gas for right now … we could use that to go into town, but it’s not exactly the most fuel efficient thing on the road. So maybe living in town is the answer … and maybe I buy a car or a faster scooter or something for the commute. But then I get stuck with that stupid long commute again, and I’ve already been doing it for 8 months. And I really don’t want to buy a car or another scooter.

Or maybe we meet in the middle and find an apartment where we’d both have the same distance to commute to work. That way we’d be a little closer to town. I don’t know.

What do you think?

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